Weekly Poker Roundup: October 16, 2015
Partypoker Software Changes Begin
Early in October, partypoker previewed changes it was going to be making to its software as it continues the industry-wide trend of making games friendlier for recreational players. On Thursday, two of those changes were made, revamping the way players access the cash game tables. The first is the new cash game lobby; instead of seeing a list of individual tables, players will simply choose from different game types (game format, seats per table, stakes, etc.) and get themselves on a waiting list for the first available seat. Table selection is out entirely, similar to what Full Tilt recently implemented.
The goal of this change is to take away the ability for predatory “sharks” to stalk weaker “fish” throughout the poker room and use automated software to identify them and sit down at their table.
The second software alteration is an adjustment to the cash game tables themselves. When a player sits down for the first time, he will not see the identities of any of his opponents. It is only until the player is dealt his first hand that the names and avatars of the other players will be revealed. Again, this is a way to shield players from those that are trying to hunt them. Strong players can still play against less-skilled players – after all, this is poker – they will just have a much harder time targeting them.
WPN’s Takes Knife to Million Dollar Sundays
The Winning Poker Network has had its share of headaches with its Million Dollar Sunday series and as such has decided to reduce the guarantee for the remaining tournaments to $500,000 from $1,000,000. In exchange, the network is doubling the number of upcoming tournaments from two to four.
WPN held its first million dollar guaranteed tourney in December 2014, but when it started, the network was victimized by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The attack created all sorts of problems, including slowdowns and disconnects. WPN paused the tournament several times to try to contain the attacks, but it was unable to do a sufficient job, so network CEO Phil Nagy called off the event and refunded everyone’s money.
The tournament was rescheduled for February and was able to go ahead as planned, so the network scheduled five more for this fall. The first, in September, was also attacked. This time, even though there were still problems and the tournament had to be paused a few times, the attack was eventually foiled. The first tourney in October went the same way, though it appears the second one went off just fine.
Unfortunately, the combination of the DDoS attacks and likely a lack of player traffic made for gigantic overlays, around $570,000 across the three fall tournaments. As a result, WPN decided it had to reduce the guarantees, but added the extra tournaments so that the total guaranteed prize pools were still the same. The buy-in and fee was also cut in half.
Knockout Week at PokerStars
This week has been dubbed Knockout Week at PokerStars, as the world’s largest online poker room has hosted a tournament series in which – you guessed it – every tournament is some sort of knockout event. Every player has a bounty on their head, so there are likely a lot of “aggressive calls” when players go all-in.
One of the incentives for participating in the tournaments is the Knockout Week Challenge. Players who eliminate two opponents in one day get an automatic cash payout. Most of the time – 65% – it will only be a dollar, but prizes do go up to $100 or even $1,000. The chances of those payouts is slim, but it exists. It is a similar story for the weekly challenge, which can be accomplished by knocking out two players in the same hand once during the week. The odds are changed a bit, with the lowest prize, $5, being awarded about 82% of the time. The top prize for the weekly challenge is $5,000.
As is the usual case with Stars tourney series, there is a leader board, as well. Instead of earning points based on tournament finishes, though, points are earned by knocking out opponents. There are also no cash prizes awarded at the end of Knockout Week. Everybody on the leader board will gain entry into a $10,000 freeroll and the top 1,000 people on the leader board will start with extra chips.
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